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Retargeting Ads Follow Surfers to Other Sites


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Julie Matlin

Julie Matlin was tempted by a pair of shoes on Zappos.com. Then the shoes started showing up in ads on other sites she visited.

Christinne Muschi for The New York Times

The shoes that Julie Matlin recently saw on Zappos.com were kind of cute, or so she thought. But Ms. Matlin wasn’t ready to buy and left the site.

Then the shoes started to follow her everywhere she went online. An ad for those very shoes showed up on the blog TechCrunch. It popped up again on several other blogs and on Twitpic. It was as if Zappos had unleashed a persistent salesman who wouldn’t take no for an answer.

"For days or weeks, every site I went to seemed to be showing me ads for those shoes," said Ms. Matlin, a mother of two from Montreal. "It is a pretty clever marketing tool. But it’s a little creepy, especially if you don’t know what’s going on."

From The New York Times
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